Reminiscences of Nanjing: Sightseeing at Congxiao

Maker(s)
Artist: Shitao (1642-1707)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1707
Medium
Ink on paper
Dimensions
H x W (image): 23.8 x 19.2 cm (9 3/8 x 7 9/16 in)
Geography
China, Nanjing
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.204.4
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Album, Painting
Type

Album leaf

Keywords
China, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), river, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To?
Zhang Daqian (1899-1983). [1]

To 1987
Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), New York. [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler, New York. [3]

Notes:

[1] See object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Zhang Daqian China, 1899-1983
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987

Label

This painting and the one on display on the opposite side of the door-way are both from an album that Shitao created in the final year of his life. The theme of the album is the recollection of the years he lived in Nanjing as a monk. Several of the twelve album leaves hint at the artist's impending death, but this scene suggests a pure reflection of past happiness. The inscription adds to the sensory impact of the painting and mentions the sounds of nature and man-birds and temple bells.

The composition is daring in its asymmetry and weighting of the landscape elements to one side. This slightly skewed effect exemplifies how Shitao used his exceptional skill as a painter to create engaging and seemingly naive images in the spirit of the Daoist principle that the "greatest skill seems like clumsiness." Shitao perfected an approach to art that profoundly influenced the evolution of Chinese painting.

Published References
  • Chang Wanli. Shitao shuhua ji [Selected Painting and Calligraphy of Shih-Tao]. multi-volumed, Hong Kong. vol. 4, pl. 95.
  • Richard Edwards. The Paintings of Tao-chi 1641-ca 1720: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held at the Museum of Art, University of Michigan, August 13-September 17, 1967. Exh. cat. Ann Arbor. pp. 44, 94, fig. 19.
  • Richard M. Barnhart. Wintry Forests, Old Trees: Some Landscape Themes in Chinese Painting. Exh. cat. New York. p. 63.
  • Marilyn Fu, Fu Shen. Studies in Connoisseurship: Chinese Paintings from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections in New York, Princeton, and Washington, D.C., Third Edition. Princeton, 1973. pp. 302-313.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 206, p. 310.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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